Growth Management Model: A model to predict and optimize the growth and healthy development of crops

Abstract

Healthy crops and efficient food production are crucial to meet the food requirements of long-duration human space missions. The Growth Management Model has been developed to realize an accurate crop production planning tool for manned space missions. The model consists of an algorithm that combines all crop specific parameters (growth rate, crop shape, fruit parameters) and growth conditions (fertilization, light irradiation, temperature, CO2-dosage, water and relative humidity) to provide advice aimed at controlling crop quality, growth, development, and fruit load, and harvest planning, whilst avoiding deficiency diseases and minimizing labour.

On Earth, the algorithm can be used to calculate different cultivation scenarios, provided that weather forecasts are included in the model as well. The grower then chooses the most appropriate scenario for his situation and desired outcomes.

Description

The offer is a model to predict and optimize the growth and healthy development of crops. The model consists of an algorithm that generates the optimal scenario for harvest optimization and planning, based on cultivation conditions and weather forecast. Crop specific parameters (growth rate, crop shape, fruit parameters) and growth conditions (fertilization, light irradiation, temperature, CO2-dosage, water and relative humidity) are combined to generate automated advice to control crop quality, growth, development, fruit load and harvest planning, whilst avoiding deficiency diseases and minimizing labour.
Innovations and advantages of the offer

  • Very complete Growth Management Model
  • Automated cultivation advice to control crop quality
  • Customized to the specific situation of each individual grower

Further Information

The Growth Management Model can be applied to any crop type on Earth. Groen Agro Control can train horticulturists who want to use the Model on a dedicated course.

Application

Current application: Demonstration system for sustainable crop production during long-duration manned space missions.

Potential application: the Growth Management Model can be applied to any crop type on Earth to generate an optimal scenario for harvest optimization and planning. This allows accurate control of the development of the crop, e.g. crop quality, growth, development, fruit load and harvest planning, to avoid deficiency diseases and to minimize labour.

Comments on the technology by the broker

At Groen Agro Control (GAC) the idea to develop a horticultural concept for space came up in 2011/2012, when future travel to the Moon and Mars was in the news. In May 2013 the R&D department of GAC took a look at what exactly a plant absorbs from a variety of nutrients. This was found to be variable. Follow-up and contact with ESA was triggered their participation in Space-MATCH in November 2013. Following this event, GAC immediately started to do further research on their idea to produce water and crops more or less automatically, based on the ‘cockpit situation’ of a spaceship. Astronauts already have enough things to worry and should not have to devote their attention to crop care.

In 2014, two technology parts of this development have been made compatible to the large-scale production in horticulture on Earth, which resulted in less emissions of unused fertilizer elements, healthier crops, less diseases, and more harvest.

Description of Space Heritage

GAC has developed the so-called ‘Growth Management Model’ to support and optimize crop production in Space. For long-duration human space missions, sustainable crop production will be a prerequisite. In the ‘Space Agro’ area, it is very important to deal with the available resources and stocks efficiently. In the MELiSSA project ESA has made significant progress with regard to the circulation of water and minerals, define the complete diet for astronauts, crop production and water purification.

The ‘Growth Management Model’ supports these subjects. The model exists of an algorithm that combines all crop specific parameters (growth rate, crop shape, fruit parameters) and growth conditions (fertilization, light irradiation, temperature, CO2-dosage, water and relative humidity) to an automatized advice to control crop quality, growth, development, fruit load, harvest planning, to avoid deficiency diseases and to minimize labour.

Category
Other Technologies
Reference No.
TDO0217
Could this technology benefit your business? Please contact Len van der Wal TNO Space (Netherlands)
Discussion
comments powered by Disqus